I Have a New Respect for Those That Put Together Sales Lists and Auctions

Jan 09 2012

You’ve probably read that I had the pleasure of working with Francois trying to put together a list of domains to sell that we released today.   After putting together my first list, I now realize that it’s a tough deal.  And I was the one that was stupid enough to ask if I could help.  I did it to learn more about putting together an auction or a sales list for the future in which I hope to organize more of these type of events.  And learn I did.  Here’s what I learned.

1.  With a domainer to domainer letter, one of the hardest parts of the process is just getting people to participate and offer names for sale.  Nobody likes the thought of selling a name to anyone but an end user.  Like most Type A domain investors, they hate the  thought of selling to another investor who turns and immediately flips it.  In reality, if they would have been able to do it themselves they already would have.

2. There are quite a few people that have bad names but still think they are good.  I realize that some people were just trying to get rid of some lesser quality names and that’s understandable, but they countered that thinking by putting a price tag of thousands of dollars.

3. There are a lot of alt tld in people’s portfolios.  Some people are still banking on the dot cos.

4. Keeping up with the weekly sales numbers is invaluable with pricing domains and knowing which ones to put at auction.  The quality is of no value if the price on it is out of line and the more knowledge you have of that relationship the better chance you have of picking a final list that moves.  Easier said than done.  Toby Clements probably as good of grasp on this as anyone in the business.

5. Speaking of Toby, there is a reason why sales people try and get the price down.  It’s obvious  The seller wants it as cheap as possible so he can sell it and make his commission.  This is where the seller has to figure out whether the list maker is trying to make it easier to get his commission or you really do have it priced too high.

6.  Everyone thinks their domain was better than the ones that were picked.

7.  Someone is always going to think they could have done a better job and will criticize.

8.  There is a great deal of satisfaction getting a name sold and not just the money.  It’s like a game and you get points when you sell something.  It’s very fulfilling.


I look forward to trying this again and I would like to thank Francois and Domaining.com for letting me be a part.  And to all of you , don’t hate, participate.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. David

    It probably wasn’t executed properly. Thousand dollar domains aren’t going to sell to domainers. End users were left out of the whole deal. Nevertheless, good job to Shane and the Domaining team!

    1. Post author

      Thanks David and Jamie,

      Certainly a learning process for me and obviously would love to increase the target audience. I appreciate the comments.

  2. Jamie Zoch

    Thanks for helping and building the list Shane! Doing lists like that gets your mind thinking for sure.

    Not sure if this was overlooked or not but “domainer to domainer letter” really shouldn’t have been the list. Considering the wide stretch the list is going to get with the amount of different sites, SE’s, Social media etc… I’m sure at least some end users were/are looking at the list. Just my three cents.

  3. Steve

    Firstly, thanks to Francois & yourself for your efforts in putting together the domain sales list (…no doubt culling the list of submissions was not an easy task!)

    I personally gave considered thought & time to select my “one” domain to submit that was both a quality name, and at the best (lowest) price I could offer. After all, with all the requests for submissions & communication about the event, I assumed only the best names with real reseller pricing would have a chance to make the top-100 list.

    Unfortunately, not until I went to submit my domain was I made aware of the ‘unpublicized’ rule: “the price of your domain MUST be lower than the appraisal value”.

    Why was this not highlighted in the MANY communication pieces requesting submissions?

    Unfortunately in my case, the estibot/valuate appraisal was … let’s just say disappointing. This meant I no longer could submit the “one” domain I genuinely felt was my ‘highest quality/best priced domain’ as had been requested. [Please note, this is NOT meant to be rant against estibot/valuate. In fact, I have had an estibot membership since it started & believe it to be a valuable tool.]

    Annoyed at the time I had spent making my “one” selection (only to have it not qualify due to an unpublicized qualification criteria) I nevertheless decided to submit a domain – although admittedly it was neither as good a deal nor of the same quality.

    Did others have a similar experience? Perhaps this contributed to the (lower than expected) number of submissions and/or served to reduce the quality of those submissions?

    In addition, you can imagine my frustration when I decided to run today’s top-100 list through estibot, only to discover that 10% of the domains (9 of the 100) were priced ABOVE the estibot/valuate appraisal!

    Again, I do appreciate the efforts of Domaining.com in compiling & producing the domain sales list, but hope future editions provide both greater clarity of the rules, AND abide by the rules that are set.

    1. Post author


      I am sorry to hear this. There were certainly others that had this same issue. I can’t speak for Francois but I do know this will be addressed if there are future domain sale letter. It was merely a way to automate the entry process and I agree may have left off some solid domains.

  4. Toby Clements

    I have to admit that I was curious how all of this would play out and let me be the first to say that I hate you aren’t being more successful with sales. By all means, don’t give up though, it’s still early and more sales might happen.

    Brokering domains to people in our industry isn’t an easy task. You have to have your finger on the pulse of what everyone wants at all times and then know what they are willing to pay as well. There is no blog you can read or website you can look at daily for this. It comes from years and years of hard work and constantly being in the trenches.

    I see people starting domain newsletters on a regular basis and for the most part, they don’t do that well.

    Years back in 2007 and 2008 it was a lot easier to buy and sell names. Now it takes quite a bit of work and you have to make sure the structure of the deal will flow. First, how is the quality of the domain and what is the extension. Second, what is the price? Third, how hot is the specific sector that this name represents? Fourth, Do I REALLY feel that this name has an honest shot of selling in my newsletter?

    I get around 5000+ submissions a week and have been looking at names at this level for over four years. I turn down 95% of all the names so you can do the math on how many people that is. You are right @Shane that I do try to talk the sellers down so the name will have a real shot of selling. The truth of the matter is that I don’t need any practice doing this so running a name for too high of a number is a waste of time, unless it’s an Ultra Premium that I feel needs to get some exposure and adds quality to my business. This being said, there are often times that I have told people that their selling prices are too low which ultimately led to a sale of a higher number so I am attune to realizing that side of the equation as well.

    TobyClements.com is successful on a regular basis for selling domains to people all throughout our industry and we also have a special department that reaches out to end users if your name is accepted into our platform. As I said, it’s not easy to do, but I feel that we have a solid grip on the entire situation. From start to finish all of the pieces of the puzzle have to fit to result in a sale and that’s a game that I love to play.

  5. Carlos Martins

    Yes, i agree with you. That´s why we started a series of auctions by theme (example: today is starting the auction .info domains for info domains only). Dozens of participations with very good names in competition. Thanks for your words of motivation.

  6. jayjay

    More domains listed = higher probability of sales, simple. Trying to ‘squeeze’ in a top 100 list leaves out other names that may have led to a sale.

    Carlos comment points out a very simple idea, a domain list based on TLD, ccTLD themes would indeed open up more buying opportunities, especially TLD niche investors in org,s net’s tv’s etc..

    I’m quite confident in saying that there where a lot of good names in other extensions (besides .com) that failed to qualify for that newsletter, especially generics.

  7. Matt

    There were more .co than .net

    I submitted a .net at around 10% of it’s estibot value

    Thought it might get picked.

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